Coming Across A Bear In The Forest
Back in 2003 I was an avid runner living in the San Bernardino Mountains. Several times a week I used to go running out by the Pinnacles and on hiking trails on the back side of the San Bernardino Mountains. For years I scared my family because they thought I could be attacked by a wild animal, or that someone might abduct me in the middle of nowhere. I told my family not to worry because wild animals such as mountain lions have even wandered down from the hills into the valley areas that are more urban, and people can be abducted or hurt anywhere. I was very cavalier about running out in the middle of nowhere because it is beautiful, and you can truly lose yourself out there. I miss the smell of the pines in the July heat and the aroma of the sage brush and other native bushes, but I will never go alone into the wilderness. The mountains are such a serene place, and running out in the middle of nowhere was my idealized dream come true. I grew up exploring out in the wilderness by myself as a child, and I never thought much about being there alone. That is until one day in 2003 when I came across a bear in the forest.
Here Comes The Bear
As I was running back from the Pinnacles up in the San Bernardino Mountains, I witnessed a bear come charging down a hill only about hundred feet in front of me. At first I thought the animal was a coyote, but after a couple of second I realized it was a bear. I was sure I was a goner since the bear had spotted me, but I stood frozen and started screaming at it. I really think that was not a good idea considering it was a bear, but I was having a panic attack. Surprisingly, or not so much, the bear decided to keep running in the diagonal path down the hillside and far away from me. I was perfectly okay with the bear chasing something else, but a little scared he might come back.
Fortunately later on I learned black bears in Southern California are not usually deadly, but I really do not want to take a chance. I guess some people feel comfortable making YouTube videos in the middle of nowhere around bears, but that is just not me. I have even heard of people chasing bears down the street with their iPhone, but that is one type of footage I could live without. My cavalier days of running out in the middle of nowhere I have fallen away. Also, I no longer live in the mountains, so I rarely go for hikes up there anymore.
I hid in a porta potty for about ten minutes since I was near a ranger's station, and then I came out and attempted to flag people down to give me a ride out of there. Honestly, looking back I should have just ran home, but at the time I was scared witless. I ended up flagging down a sheriff to give me a ride home, and I think he thought I was a little weird to be out there running. I should have just walked home because the bear was probably not going to come back, but I was so frightened. I miss going out in nature these days on my solo runs, but I never want to be that close to a bear or a mountain lion again. I did see a mountain lion once in the distance, but it ran away before I could think about it. I have seen many coyotes, and most of them never scared me at all. I once stopped in the forest to just look at the coyote and it also observed me. Once an alpha male coyote refused to run away when I started screaming at it, so I ran the other way.
I have no desire to be out in the middle of nowhere where I might be attacked by a wild animal again, and my days of tracking off by myself are over. Call me a chicken because that must be what I am!
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